Paulie Malignaggi wants to right the wrong that was his Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut last year when he ended up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Artem Lobov.
Malignaggi survived a cut and broken right hand but dropped a decision 48-47 across all five, three minute rounds. The former two-division boxing champion at 140 and 147 pounds believes he will defeat Lobov easily under sanctioned, sweet science rules.
“I'm interested in a rematch. If the right offer comes my way, I’ll consider it,” Malignaggi told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “Talking about a fight and making a fight are two different things. If the deal is right, I’ll no doubt be willing to take it. I’m looking for the right numbers and financial compensation that would interest me at the end of the day. I have one foot out of the door. I’ve retired. Once in a while though, I peak my head in the door to see if anything is in there. I’ll be turning 40-years-old this year, so I won’t be interested in it that much longer. I have to be motivated enough to train and take the punishments in camp, and with the right money on the table that will make it worthwhile, I will.”
Malignaggi said he has been previously approached by promoters to stage a boxing match with Lobov in locales like Egypt, by the Pyramids, but more serious conversations haven’t been substantiated.
“I basically beat Lobov with one hand,” said Malignaggi. “They robbed me in that fight. I put a clinic on him. The reason I broke my hand was that I tried to punch through Lobov and not at him. I threw it so hard, my hand broke. You’re not supposed to punch through an opponent in a bare knuckle fight … I’ve dealt with hand injuries my whole life, going back to when I was a 21-year-old in my third pro fight. I ended up having a surgery a year later. My hand injury robbed me of a lot of things in my career in addition to power, like second-guessing certain punches, counters and combinations, or the offensive way I would want to fight. It eliminated a lot of natural instincts that I had. But it allowed me to perfect my jab and left hand.”
Earlier this month, Lobov, who amassed a 13-15 record in MMA and 2-1 in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, also said he'd be interested in a new foray into boxing.
“Certainly [I’d rematch Paulie Malignaggi]. I have had some inquiries about that as I had a boxing promoter reach out to me and ask if I’d be interested in a pro boxing match against Paulie,” Lobov told BJPenn.com. “With the coronavirus, all of that was put on hold but certainly I’d do it. Pro boxing has been something I’ve thought about for a long time. I think it would be a good first opponent for it.”
The 39-year-old Malignaggi last fought as a boxer in 2017 and finished his career 36-8, 7 KOs. He now serves as a boxing analyst for Showtime.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.